The evenings are getting long again with warm breezes and a sun that seems to have incredible staying power even though it hangs so heavily, winking at the horizon. With summer twilights come a distinctive food memory for me and the predictable craving that follows. There’s something about pavlova with seasonal fruit that is intrinsically tied to summer in my mind. What’s that? You’ve never hear of pavlova? My, my, my, you are in for one amazing treat, especially with this unique twist of Chocolate Pavlova (with Candied Kumquats and Rhubarb).
I hope it’s not too pretentious to quote myself, but I really want to tell this story again since there are so many more of you reading now than when I first wrote it:
“I first came across fresh fruit pavlova while living in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I can remember everything about the scene of my first bite – it was that delightful. A crisp shell of a meringue with a melt-y middle topped with ever-so-slightly sweet fresh whipped cream and (for that first encounter) kiwis and blueberries spilling off the plate. If ever the heavens should point a sunbeam directly on my head and issue forth an angelic chorus, it should have been at the moment of my first bite in that roadside Irish inn.
Since then, I’ve learned this dessert really hails from New Zealand and was named after a Russian ballerina so I think it classifies as an international dish even though there’s nothing regionally distinctive in its flavors. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe directions. It really is just a lot of mixing and that’s all. These little puffs of marshmallow-y delight are well worth the 20 minutes of shouting required to be heard over the mixer.”
Today’s recipe features the most amazing pale blue eggs laid by my friend E’s Araucana chickens. Aren’t they so very beautiful? They were also impressively tasty in this meringue and formed stiff peaks in a flash. I know I’ve got on a soapbox on here before about how much better local fresh eggs are than those bought in the supermarket so I’ll spare you the sermon this time. Just do me a favor and see if you can find some local eggs, will ya?
Now, yes, this is a bit of a tease. I’m showing you some of the delicious candied fruit topping for this pavlova without giving you the recipe…just yet. I promise, next post will have a simple recipe for candying kumquats and rhubarb and just about anything else your heart desires. In the meantime, make your meringue bases in preparation for pulling out the big dessert guns at your Memorial Day picnics this weekend!
SFTF is on TWITTER! Don’t worry, I won’t be talking about what I had for lunch or when my cat scratched me last. Tweets will contain alerts to new posts and links to fun sites and resources that don’t merit a full post here on the blog. Good stuff only, I promise! Become a follower by clicking on the link below and make me feel special.
Taken from Martha Stewart Living, April ’09
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
Mix whites, sugars, and salt in a mixer bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugars dissolve and mixture is warm, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 6-8 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Sift cocoa powder over meringue, and fold until barely any streaks remain. Using an spatula or large spoon, spread meringue into 5 or 6 evenly sized rounds, about 4 inches in diameter. Be careful not to spread out too much; meringue will spread more during baking. Forma little indentation in the center of each.
Bake meringue until dry to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool on sheet on wire rack. Meringue will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to 3 days.
To assemble and serve pavlova: Beat fresh whipping cream with a touch of sugar (taste to ensure sweetness is as desired) until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream over the chocolate meringue. Top with fresh fruit or with candied kumquats and rhubarb as I did. Serve immediately!